Wednesday, 2 November 2016

“Who Owns A Company?”

The Political Quarterly Annual Lecture given by Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England will be held Monday 5 December, 6.00 - 8.00 pm at the Institute for Government, 2 Carlton Gardens,London, SW1Y 5AA. This will be followed by a drinks reception. You can sign up here.

Who owns a company? This might seem like a simple question with a simple answer. At least for publicly listed companies, its owners are its shareholders. It is they who claim the profits of the company, who exercise control rights over the management of the company and they whose objectives have primacy in the running of the company. Yet despite its durability and success, this corporate model has not gone unquestioned.

In recent years there has been a rising tide of criticism of companies’ behaviour, from excessive executive remuneration, to unethical practices, to monopoly or oligopoly powers, to short-termism. This lecture will explore different governance and incentive structures and discuss the various micro-economic frictions and their macro-economic impact.

Andrew G Haldane is the Chief Economist at the Bank of England. He is also Executive Director, Monetary Analysis, Research and Statistics. He is a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee. He also has responsibility for research and statistics across the Bank. Andrew has an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University, is Honorary Professor at University of Nottingham, a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, a member of Economic Council of Royal Economic Society, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Member of Research and Policy Committee at the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA). He is Chairman and co-founder of ‘Pro Bono Economics’, a charity which brokers economists into charitable projects. Andrew has written extensively on domestic and international monetary and financial policy issues and has published over 150 articles and four books. In 2014, TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

'Democracy in Britain: Retrospect and Prospect' by Tony Wright

The Political Quarterly was delighted to host former editor Tony Wright for the Political Quarterly lecture entitled 'Democracy in Britain: Retrospect and Prospect' on Wednesday 12 October, at the Institute for Government. You can see the the video of his discussions with Jean Seaton here.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Anne Joshua

Anne Joshua, who carried out all The Political Quarterly’s typesetting for over 30 years, died on 21 November 2016 in Oxford after suffering from multiple cancers.

Anne started work in the 1970s taking in academic typing, which she could do at home while she brought up her children. Very quickly she noticed that the technology of typesetting and printing was changing. One major advance was the development of new and sophisticated types of electric golf-ball typewriter using single-strike carbon ribbons. These allowed a single operator to produce high-quality output that at its best was almost as good as printers’ type. For the first time it was possible to run a serious home-based typesetting firm, as Anne did - initially with a single machine on her kitchen table.

This simple, adaptable and relatively inexpensive technology, colloquially known as ‘IBM setting’ after the manufacturer of most of the machines, had its most marked effect on academic publishing. It substantially reduced fixed costs and meant that hitherto marginal or uneconomic books and texts with small print runs were now publishable. And it was here, not in the later computer era, that the world of typesetting began to change for good. Anne was part of this movement and very much a pioneer.

She invested in increasingly sophisticated technology, filling the basement of her house with equipment that many established firms would envy. As somebody at the very top of her craft, Anne also exemplified the other major advantage of IBM setting: in the hands of a top operator the availability of multiple typefaces (simply achieved by swapping golf balls in and out while keying at speed, something wonderful to watch in action) made it very suitable for complex work such as maths, Old English and logic.

Anne acquired an enviable reputation for this kind of work. One of us (CC) recalls a day in the 1980s when he had been told by a publisher (not of PQ) that an equation he wanted to use in a chapter was far too complex and difficult for the typesetters and too expensive for the project concerned. He took it over the road to Anne (who lived opposite at the time), and within 20 minutes she had typeset the equation, charging the publishers a tenth of their own estimate.

That can-do approach enabled her to build up Joshua Associates, a flourishing business employing several staff that served the extensive publishing industry based in and around Oxford. After the IBM setting of the previous era drifted into obsolescence she adopted new computer based setting technology, standardising on the 3B2 system. By 1992 Joshua Associates was large enough to move to new premises in Oxford’s Marston Road. Until very recently she was one of the very last British-based typesetting firms competing successfully for such work with the massive industry that has developed in the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere in Asia. Her last major project was PQ’s major collection of Bernard Crick’s essays, Defending Politics: Bernard Crick at The Political Quarterly, but she continued running her firm until she was diagnosed with cancer this summer.

Anne provided far more than just a basic setting service. By the mid-1990s the design of PQ was beginning to look rather tired, and along with a change of format this provided an opportunity to redesign both the cover and internal typography. Anne came to the rescue with a new two-column text design in Palatino and an elegant cover using the same typeface, which launched with issue 1 of 1996. In particular, she created the instantly recognisable and deceptively simple PQ logo that still identifies the journal and all its works twenty years later. While cover designs and fashions have come and gone, Anne’s logo and her internal text design remain virtually unchanged.

In her work Anne combined exacting professional standards with deep friendliness. To come to her with work past its deadline was not an occasion to look forward to; but you would leave the meeting joking and laughing. In her personal life she has been unfailingly caring and kind. Anyone coming within her radius with anxieties or problems would be taken under her protective wing and helped unobtrusively to feel better about themselves.

Steve Ball
(Assistant editor, PQ, 2002-16)

Colin Crouch
(Joint editor, PQ, 1985-94; chairman of the editorial board, 1999-2009)

Friday, 23 September 2016

'Democracy in Britain: Retrospect and Prospect' by Tony Wright

The Political Quarterly is delighted to host former editor Tony Wright for the Political Quarterly lecture entitled 'Democracy in Britain: Retrospect and Prospect'on Wednesday 12 October, 6 - 8 pm at the Institute for Government, 2 Carlton Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AA. You can register for this free event here.

Tony Wright was co-editor of Political Quarterly from 1995 until 2015. MP for Cannock Chase from 1992 to 2010, he chaired the Public Administration Select Committee for over a decade and as chair of the Reform of the House of Commons Select Committee introduced the ‘Wright reforms’ that strengthened the role of the Commons. Since his first book on GDH Cole and Socialist Democracy (1979), he has published many books including Socialisms (1986), RH Tawney (1987) and Citizens and Subjects (1994). His most recent books are Doing Politics (2012) and the second edition of the very successful British Politics: A Very Short Introduction (2013). He is currently a Professor at UCL and Birkbeck.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Why Donald Trump was Nominated by the Republicans
Alan Ware

Alan Ware
Donald Trump’s selection by the Republican Party as its presidential candidate is one of the most controversial nominations in American electoral history. In living memory only the National Convention’s choice of Barry Goldwater in 1964 might conceivably rival it at the presidential level. Read the full blog here.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Two Special Issues on Europe

The Political Quarterly is pleased to publish two special issues in the latest issue 87 2 on Europe. Up for grabs? Key Issues in the Negotiations about Britain’s Membership of the EU has been edited by Waltraud Schelkle with articles from Eiko Thielemann and Daniel Schade; Steve Coulter and Bob Hancké; and Anne Corbett.

The UK and the European Union has been edited by Anand Menon, Rachel Minto, Daniel Wincott with articles by. Rachel Minto, Jo Hunt, Michael Keating and Lee McGowan; Ailsa Henderson, Charlie Jeffery, Robert Liñeira, Roger Scully, Daniel Wincott and Richard Wyn Jones; Simon Hix; John Curtice; Sofia Vasilopoulou; Emma Carmel and Theodoros Papadopoulos; Rebecca Adler-Nissan; Steve Peers; Richard Whitman; Nicholas Crafts; and Damian Chalmers.

You can read both collections here for free.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Bernard Crick Prize for Best Piece 2015. The winners are...

The Political Quarterly is delighted to announce Dave Richards from the University of Manchester and Martin Smith from the University of York as worthy winners of the Bernard Crick Prize for Best Piece 2015. The winning article is entitled ‘In Defence of British Politics Against the British Political Tradition’ (86, 1: 41-51)

The criteria from the judges were as followed:

  • The Orwell test: Was the article written in good, clear English?
  • The scholarship test: Was its knowledge base sound and well grounded?
  • The Alzheimer test: Could I remember its contents clearly several days after reading it?
  • The durability test: Is it likely to be read some years later, or was it just good current comment?
  • The originality test: Did it have something distinctly new to say?

All of these criteria were fulfilled and the prize was given at the Orwell Prize Awards by co-editor Deborah Mabbett on 26 May at the University of Westminster. You can read the winning article here.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Up for grabs? Key issues in the negotiations about Britain’s membership of the EU

In the run-up to the referendum, the London School of Economics and Political Science arranged a series of expert hearings on the future of Britain in Europe. The first four hearings dealt with policy issues that we considered to be important: migration, employment regulation, financial integration, and finally higher education and research. Read Waltraud Schelkle's special issue on the EU with articles by Waltraud Schelkle; Eiko Thielemann and Daniel Schade; Steve Coulter and Bob Hancké; and Anne Corbett.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Citizens, customers, politicians, professionals and money men

The Political Quarterly Annual Lecture given by Colin Crouch on 19 January 2016 at the Institute for Government.
Two disturbing stories in late 2015 - the Volkswagen emissions testing scandal and the news that some NHS trusts had been giving general practitioners financial incentives not to send patients to hospitals for tests - seemed to come from quite different parts of the human capacity for wickedness. But both are products of the same neoliberal insistence that financial knowledge should trump all other kinds. You can see the lecture in full here.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

PQ's new co-editor

After many capable and successful years of Tony Wright at the PQ helm, Tony has left his role as co-editor for pastures new and we wish him well for his "retirement".

We are delighted to welcome Ben Jackson as new co-editor. Ben will be working with Deborah Mabbett and will continue the sterling work carried out by Tony, Andrew Gamble and Michael Jacobs.

Ben is Associate Professor of Modern History at Oxford University and a Fellow of University College. He is a historian of modern Britain, with particular interests in labour history, political thought, and the history of social and economic policy. He is the author of Equality and the British Left (Manchester, 2007) and co-editor of Making Thatcher's Britain (Cambridge, 2012). His current research focuses on the rise of the neo-liberal right and Thatcherism; on the political thought of British socialism and liberalism; and on the history and politics of Scottish nationalism. Prior to becoming the Co-Editor of Political Quarterly, he was the Editor of Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy between 2012 and 2015.